HC Deb 21 April 1950 vol 474 cc471-2

Mr. Oliver Stanley (by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any further statement to make on the strike position in the London docks.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

Yes, Sir. It is a very brief statement. Reports so far received this morning indicate that there is little material change since yesterday.

Mr. Stanley

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions? First, can he say anything about the position of the stevedores? Second, is there any danger, over the week-end, to perishable goods, and, if so, what action will he take to protect them?

Mr. Isaacs

There is no danger, over this week-end, to perishable goods. The Government are watching that, and will take steps to see that perishable goods are not lost. In regard to the stevedores, I know no more than is in the Press this morning. We are making contact with the authorities, and the situation in that respect is not worse than it was yesterday.

Mr. Maclay

In view of the risk of confusion between two possible issues in the docks at the moment, is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the statement issued by the union to its members is sufficiently brief and clear to leave no doubt in any man's mind as to what this strike is about?

Mr. Isaacs

I cannot say what impression it will have on the men's minds, but the statement issued by the union, from their point of view, was clear and explanatory. That relates only to the position of the dockers; it does not relate at all to the stevedores' position, which is a separate matter.

Mr. Maclay

Have the Government no intention of following that statement up with a statement by themselves, so that there is no risk, over the week-end, of this position being more and more clouded?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir. The House will accept it from me, I hope, that it should leave the matter where it is. We wish to handle it without a great deal of publicity in the House of Commons. That may have a very good effect.

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